Mav Offense Falls Flat in Alaska Trip

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By Nate Tenopir, Sports Editor

UNO only managed to score one goal in two games and left the Brice Alaska Goal Rush with losses to Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska-Fairbanks.  After failing to get a tying goal in the third period of last Saturday’s loss to Colgate, the Mavs went over six periods before getting back on the scoreboard.

After 145 minutes and 19 seconds without a goal, Terry Broadhurst’s marker with 7:40 remaining against Alaska-Fairbanks put UNO within two goals at 3-1.  But the Nanooks got a steal and a breakaway goal less than a minute later to finish off the Mavs 4-1.

Friday’s 3-0 loss to Alaska-Anchorage came on three second period goals that were scored within a span of five minutes and 41 seconds.  It’s the first time the Mavs have lost three in a row since a three loss stretch in December of 2009.

It’s also the first time UNO’s record has dipped below .500 since the conclusion of the CCHA tournament in March of 2009. 

Though Friday’s 3-0 shutout came against fellow WCHA member Alaska-Anchorage, the game does not count towards the conference standings.  UNO gets a second chance against the Seawolves when Anchorage visits Omaha for a WCHA series next weekend.

Though the results of the weekend look ugly, the Mavs had chances to be in both games.  Prior to Friday’s three goal second period by Anchorage, UNO had a flurry of their own.

It started on a shot by junior forward Brent Gwidt rebounding out to freshman James Polk.  Polk sent his follow up shot just wide of the Anchorage net.

Freshman center Jayson Megna had his own chance on a pass from Broadhurst, but his shot was saved by Seawolf goaltender Rob Gunderson.  Moments later Matt White tipped a pass through Gunderson’s crease, but the chance slide just wide.

Failing to convert on any of the chances loomed large when Anchorage’s Mark Pustin scored on the next rush up the ice.  Goals by Quinn Sproule and Matt Bailey made it 3-0 with 4:36 remaining in the period.

Bailey’s goal chased UNO goaltender John Faulkner from the game.  Freshman Ryan Massa played the final 24:06 of the game, facing and saving all 14 shots that came his way.

Massa earned his first collegiate start Saturday night against Fairbanks, saving 21 shots on 25 attempts.  It was the first time John Faulkner hadn’t started in net in 43 games.

Not only did Faulkner not start the game, Fredrik Bergman was dressed as the backup and Faulkner was allowed to rest and watch the game in street clothes.

After breaking up the first line combination of Broadhurst, Brock Montpetit and White in Friday’s loss, the trio was back together against the Nanooks.  UNO outshot Fairbanks 12-11 in the first period, but went into the first intermission down 1-0.

A save by Massa produced a rebound to the Seawolves’ Colton Beck who scored on the short side at 3:02 of the first.  The Mavs got a power play just after the goal and put three shots on net. But Fairbanks’ goalie Scott Greenham was equal to the task, denying UNO’s first 24 shots before Broadhurst’s marker at 12:20 of the third period.  After not a single penalty was called on either side Friday, UNO had six chances on the power play Saturday.

The goal by Broadhurst converted one of the chances, but it came too late to make much of a difference.  To make matters worse, the Mavs went down 2-0 when the Nanooks scored shorthanded on UNO’s third power play of the game.

As the third period began the deficit was only two and the Mavs had their fifth chance with the extra man.  UNO was unable to cut the deficit in half but had the first six shots of the period.

Eight minutes in Montpetit put a shot off the crossbar, then two minutes later Jayson Megna put one off the post.  There appeared to be a lid on the goal and the Mavs seemed headed for their second straight shutout.

When UNO earned their sixth and final power play of the game, head coach Dean Blais gambled and pulled Massa with 8:13 still to go in the game.  The move paid off.

With all the slapshots, wristers and backhanders that the Mavs had tried all weekend, it was a bounce and a deflection that finally got them on the board.  Pressing the issue, defenseman Michael Young had the puck stolen away and Colton Beck scored his second of the game, putting the final count at 4-1 with 6:42 remaining.

Despite the lack of scoring, UNO did have a few bright spots in the tournament.  Freshman Jayson Megna played two very good games, putting three shots on net Friday and another four on Saturday.

Freshman Ryan Massa may have surrendered four goals but a few of those came on shots where Massa didn’t have much of a chance at making a save.  In total he gave up 4 goals on 39 shots, good enough for an .897 save percentage.

Massa’s four goals in just over 83 minutes of game time works out to a goals against average of 2.87.

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